By Yamilex Garcia and Omar Quintana
On Monday, November 14, 2016, Ms. Anita Luera, the director of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism for high school students, spoke to more than three dozen students in Mr. Rana Medhi’s journalism and Ms. Marie Little’s yearbook programs at Pueblo Magnet High School, primarily discussing the value and power of journalism in our society today.
“Journalism should be about the truth, and our society needs the truth more than ever,” Luera said. “Journalism careers will increase as people will always need news, and hopefully well-balanced, fair, objective news.”
She also promoted the upcoming 2017 Summer Institute at ASU for all students interested in media careers. Students can begin applying for this program as early as January.
Pueblo senior Victor Garcia was encouraged by his media teacher last year, Ms. Pamela Shapiro, to apply—and eventually be accepted to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Summer Institute last summer. Garcia said that he wanted to explore the modern facilities of the school as well as its technical parts, including the contemporary newsrooms. For two weeks, Garcia worked with other students from mostly Arizona, as well as one student from France.
“We [the students in the program] still keep in touch via group chats,” Garcia said. “That’s how close we became because we had to work together and produced a media package.” He paused and said, “It’s an intense program—you really learn a lot about the world of journalism and have to meet deadlines and be responsible. I would encourage all students who have a general interest in media to apply for this prestigious program.”
Garcia said that he learned a lot about diplomacy in the Summer Institute. “It wasn’t all about journalism,” he said. “My work ethic improved a great deal when I returned this year to Pueblo as a senior.”
Garcia said that he hasn’t firmly committed to a collegiate major, but at this time, he is exploring an option in public policies—somehow involved in the political world.
Luera visited a few other media programs, including radio (with Ms. Sarah Wilson and her students) as well as photography (taught by Ms. Emma Tarazon).
This is Luera’s ninth year of visiting Pueblo Magnet High School, speaking to hundreds of students over the years.
“I never get tired of coming to Pueblo,” Luera said. “Your school [Pueblo] is very fortunate to have so many different media programs—especially as part of your magnet program.”
Anita Luera, a long-time journalist and past president of the Arizona Latino Media Association, is the first director of high school journalism programs for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
Luera oversees an expanding array of high school programs, including national training institutes for high school journalism teachers and students. She also leads school’s outreach programs to high schools around the region that are working to develop and improve their journalism programs.